Extra support during power cuts for members of The University of the Third Age

Members of Elgin and District U3A with Carmen Gillies, Moray Council

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Distribution (SSEN) recently attended U3A (The University of the Third Age) Elgin and District to promote SSEN’s free Priority Services Register.

SSEN is the electricity distribution network operator for the north of Scotland, responsible for keeping the lights on for over 300,000 customers across the region. Its network is robust and resilient 99% of the time, but in extreme weather conditions, weather-related damage can cause disruption to electricity supplies. Being prepared ahead of bad weather is something that is especially important for customers who may need extra support during a power cut, including those over the age of 60.

The University of the Third Age is a UK-wide movement which brings together people in their ‘third age’ to develop their educational, social and creative interests and continue their learning in a friendly and informal environment. Third age refers to the time after an individual has finished working full-time or raising a family and has time to pursue their interests or try something new. U3A has a ‘university’ of members who draw upon their knowledge and experience to teach and learn from each other. The Elgin and District U3A was formed in October 2015 for the Elgin area, meeting every two months at Elgin Town Hall with over 180 current members.

Shona Horn, Customer Relationship Manager for the North Caledonia region at SSEN, said:

“We really value opportunities like this to promote our free priority services to those who need it most within our local communities.

“We currently have over 44,500 people registered on our Priority Services Register across our region in the North East and Shetland, but we know there are many more customers out there who could benefit from the free services we offer.

“Working closely in partnership with Moray Council and speaking to organisations like U3A helps us reach a wider audience, promote our PSR and give some helpful hints and tips on how to prepare for a power cut.”

Carmen Gillies, Community Wellbeing Development Officer, Health and Social Care at Moray Council, added:

“Working in partnership with SSEN is vital in creating resilient and connected communities by sharing opportunities which can benefit the older population throughout Moray.

“Making every opportunity count to deliver better outcomes for our community members is a key function of my role.

“Therefore, by sharing information we hope community members over 60 years old will share what they have learnt and get other friends and family members to sign up to the priority service.”

Customers can qualify for SSEN's Priority Services Register if they:

  • Are dependent on electricity for home medical care
  • Have a chronic illness or short term medical condition
  • Are disabled
  • Have special communication needs
  • Have children under the age of five
  • Are over the age of 60

By registering for SSEN’s PSR, customers will be proactively contacted to warn them of potential bad weather to help them prepare and to offer extra support where required. SSEN’s teams will also keep in close and regular contact with its PSR customers during network outages to check they are getting the help they need.  The free service also offers:

  • Dedicated 24-hour priority services phone number
  • Information in the format you need, for example Braille, textphone, audio CD or foreign language

To find out more about the PSR, click here or call 0800 294 3259.

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.7 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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